As one who has worked in both the clinical microbiology and bio-pharmaceutical industries, I found your March 8 editorial regarding the growing movement to opt out of childhood vaccines to be inaccurate.
First of all, you make the mistake of including both bacterial and viral vaccines as being of equal concern in the proposed link between childhood vaccines and autism, when in fact only viral vaccines are of concern.
The reason why viral vaccines have been associated with autism is due to the fact that Chicken Pox, Hepatitis A+B, and Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccines are produced using cell lines that have been derived from aborted human tissue. Viruses that are grown in the aborted human cell lines are collected using a process that retains extremely large quantities of aborted cellular DNA, and this DNA is injected along with the viruses when vaccinating children. For example, a single dose of Merck's Varivax Chicken Pox vaccine contains aborted fetal DNA fragments that are quantitatively 300,000 times the DNA mass of a single human cell.
If the childhood vaccines mentioned above were produced using animal cell lines, injecting large volumes of DNA fragments would not be of concern. However, because aborted fetal cell lines are of human origin, random DNA insertion of aborted cell line fragments into the vaccinated child's DNA takes place. Random DNA insertion into a recipient's genes occurs by a process called homologous recombination, and laboratory studies have shown that this process occurs spontaneously only within a species.
As would be expected in a hockey-stick statistical analysis of change point years following the introduction of human aborted cell line viral vaccines during the 1980s, there is a clear correlation between the exponential increase in autism on a global basis and the use of human aborted cell line viral vaccines.
It should be noted that childhood viral vaccines can be produced using animal cell lines, and in fact some animal cell line derived viral vaccines are available outside of the U.S. Although one can only speculate as to why viral vaccine manufacturers do not offer the animal cell line derived products in the U.S., it most likely has to do with the higher production yields associated with aborted human cells, and perhaps an overriding politically-motivated desire to find some 'humanitarian' purpose in abortion.
Eric Carlson is a resident of Lake Oswego.